Catechists in Action – Nick Greets His Students

Here’s another brief clip of my visit to catechist Nick Yonto’s 5th grade class that shows him continuing his preparations as the students arrive. Watch as Nick:

  • fills the board with prayer responses, definitions, and directions that he will refer to throughout the session
  • spends a few moments preparing the computer and video screen to show an image of the Last Supper about half way through the class.
  • interacts with students as they arrive, drawing their attention to the directions he’s placed on the board to get them busy working the moment they settle in.

Although you won’t be able to hear a lot of what Nick is saying, watch for his style: professional yet cordial and friendly. He deals individually with students’ questions and gives directions in a thoughtful manner and tone. As a result, notice how quiet the kids are as they gather (I avoid showing the kids on film in order to protect their privacy).



  • What information can/do you put up on the board before class begins?
  • What technology issues do you sometimes need to deal with before class starts?
  • How do you interact with students as they arrive?
About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Aloha!

    Enjoying the videos -wish we could hear what he says but, thank-you for the notes. As far as the questions : I like to emphasize the liturgical calendar and the Gospel of the day so, I post a liturgical calendar on the whiteboard, write down a sentence with blanks to fill in the week in time,and behind the calendar I write down what the plan/topic will be and any other questions. Unfortunately because of space limitations I don’t use technology – I’d love to and I enjoy seeing that Catechist Nick does. It’s a very important part of the student’s lives but, I do try to mention in my lessons some aspect of technology if it is appropriate. I try to interact with the student’s as they arrive by personally greeting them and especially welcoming back those who may have been absent – the first few weeks I constantly repeat their names,too – since often I have names that are similar in prounciation or spelling and I prefer not to use name tags or refering to a list – afterall – I have to recall 19 names to remember versus they only have to remember mine ?! lol

    BTW – how do you post your icon or picture to the comments page?

  2. If we can’t hear the kids interacting it will be hard to see how the class goes, I think. Part of the interesting part of the class is that interplay between kids and teacher. I hope the future segments show some of that. Also I would have liked to see what was written on the board. And the lesson plan so I know where Nick is going in this class.

    • Dianna, you’ll be able to hear more as Nick begins to actually teach. Right now these interactions are very individualized. You’ll see more of what Nick has on the board as he begins teaching.

  3. Go Nick! I’ve been a Catechist for years but am taking a break this year. Seeing Nick in action makes me miss it. I usually start my class time out in a prayer circle. Therefore, I have to arrive early and arrange the chairs in a circle. We’ve done a song with sign language and the kids loved it. I also put up a small display on the prayer table of Creation and remind the kids of how God is the Center of everything. (This is where the position of the Church is on the 7th day of Creation on my display – in the center.) Go to my website under the ‘Teachers Aids’ section to get some of these ideas if you would like at I like the idea of a Liturgical Calendar and Gospel reference for the week too. I hope to return as a Catechist next year.

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